Iron ore

The top three exporters are Australia, Brazil and South Africa

Global exports of iron ore in January-March 2024 increased by 6% compared to the same period in 2023 – to 376 million tons. This is evidenced by BigMint data.

The five largest exporters accounted for 332 mln tons of exports against 318 mln tons a year ago, in particular:

  • Australia – 203 mln tons (-1% y/y);
  • Brazil – 84 million tons (+12%);
  • South Africa – 16 million tons (+7%);
  • India – 15 million tons (+33%);
  • Canada – 13 million tons (+23%).

Ukraine ranked sixth in the ranking of global iron ore exporters in January-March 2024 with 9 million tons (+143% y/y). The increase in iron ore exports by Ukrainian mining companies was facilitated by the partial reopening of sea exports.

The increase in global iron ore exports reflects an increase in China’s imports of raw materials, up 6% y/y – to 310 million tons. This was facilitated by a 1.6% y/y increase in steel production by Chinese steelmakers in January-February. At the same time, imports were supported by a drop in iron ore prices – from $135/t at the beginning of the year to $110/t in March. In addition, an increase in production and sales from Brazil and India is a significant factor in the improvement of iron ore trade.

In the short term, global iron ore exports will remain high as major global companies maintain their production forecasts. Exports from India are also likely to increase. However, the increase in stocks in Chinese ports is worrisome – they have reached a two-year high of 145 million tons.

As GMK Center reported earlier, in January-March 2024, global steel production increased by 0.5% compared to the same period in 2023 to 469.1 million tons. In the CIS+Ukraine region, the figure increased by 1.6% y/y – to 21.8 million tons. In particular, Ukraine increased steel production by 36.6% y/y over 3 months – to 1.69 million tons.